Healthy snack ideas for road trips

With a little preparation, it is easy to eat healthy on the road.

Planning a road trip? Make sure to plan healthy snacks for along the way!
Planning a road trip? Make sure to plan healthy snacks for along the way!

Is your family planning a road trip this summer?  If you answered yes, then you may be wondering how to keep your family healthy during the long trip ahead. Just because you are on the road does not mean you have to eat unhealthy foods! You can plan and prepack healthy snacks your family will enjoy. Incorporating United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) My Plate food groups is simple and nutritious. Here are some healthy and simple ways to stay healthy on the road:

  1. Instead of drinking sugary soft drinks or fruit juice, have some water. Bring your own infused water or 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices. These healthy beverages will provide you with fiber, vitamins and minerals. In addition, they will keep you and your loved ones hydrated. Additional tips can be found at My Plate’s better beverage choices webpage.
  2. Peanuts are a healthy and delicious snack for the road, but be mindful of your portions! Choosing peanuts in the shell is a good idea as they will prevent you from eating too many.
  3. If you are craving chocolate, consider a trail mix bar with different nuts and dried fruits covered in dark chocolate instead.
  4. Include fruits and vegetables as snacks. Precut and prewashed snap peas, apples, carrots, celery sticks, mandarins and grapes are snacks that travel great. Dried fruit is also a good fruit option. Follow My Plate tips for kid-friendly veggies and fruit snacks.
  5. Do not forget to incorporate dairy into your snacks on the go. Low-fat string cheese and low-fat yogurt are convenient ways to sneak some dairy in a cooler.
  6. Avoid the big bag of chips and refined grains, pick whole-wheat crackers, popcorn and granola bars instead. These are high in fiber and low in added sugars, fat and sodium. 
  7. Bring a healthy sandwich. Choose turkey, roast beef or peanut butter on whole wheat bread to maximize the nutrients you receive on your trip.

A nutritious snack rich in carbohydrates, protein, dairy, fruit and vegetables with plenty of fluid is vital if you are taking part in long trip. It is also important to store and carry your snacks properly to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Following the above tips is a healthy and easy way towards a balanced diet.  If you would like to learn more about heathy lifestyles, visit USDA’s My Plate page. Michigan State University Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating. For more health and nutrition tips, visit Michigan State University Extension.

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